Opiate drugs perform one similar task.These drugs, also known as narcotics or opioid drugs, attach to pain receptors inside the brain. Once attached, they all temporarily numb pain sensations and ultimately slow the brain from creating its own natural painkillers. These drugs can also cause slowed breathing, delayed response time, changes in behavior and thought, and a powerful addiction.1

Opioid epidemicPrescription opiates like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet are designed to assist people who have pain from surgery or devastating conditions like cancer. These drugs are sometimes combined with anti-inflammatory ingredients like aspirin and acetaminophen. Combining drugs in this way can cause multiple problems, as people may experience an overdose of both the opioid painkiller and the analgesic painkiller in these drug combinations.

The prescription painkiller OxyContin was once considered the gold standard in terms of addiction and when released, was touted as a medication with the highest possible level of opioids. People may abuse OxyContin and other opioid drugs by:

  • Crushing the pills
  • Mixing the powder with water
  • Loading that liquid into a needle
  • Injecting the liquid into the veins2

In 2010, the manufacturer of OxyContin changed formulas, making the pills difficult to crush and nearly impossible to inject. Immediately, OxyContin addiction rates dropped from 35.6 percent of people who entered treatment programs to 12.8 percent. However, some people do continue to abuse this drug by simply swallowing the pills. Unfortunately, other people turned to heroin to prevent distressing withdrawal symptoms.3

Heroin is one of the most addictive opiate drugs available.The National Institute on Drug Abuse has labeled this drug as “extremely addictive” as it has the ability to reach brain cells rapidly.4 There are no fillers to work around and no digestive system to avoid. People can simply shoot up the drug and walk away feeling serene. According to experts, this is the most addictive form of opiate available, simply because it is so very potent and powerful.

New opioid drugs are on the market, including Fentanyl, a drug that can be 50 times more powerful than heroin. Unfortunately, a great deal of Fentanyl is brought to the U.S. illegally, and may be passed off as heroin. This dangerous drug puts users at risk of immediate overdose and death. Fentanyl is so powerful and so dangerous, the life-saving drug Naloxone may not even be able to counter large doses.5

Carol, who shares her story at www.HeroesInRecovery.com, lost her daughter December 2014 to a Fentanyl overdose. “Each recovering person I’ve met has a different story,” she says. “There’s no one thing that has turned them all around. They received help from their families, their children and rehabilitation services. I learned that the most important thing for them is a positive support group. They call on each other to help, and they give back to their recovery community. They have connections.”

Finding Help for Opioid Dependence

No matter what type of opioid a person uses, it’s quite difficult for people to stop once they have started. The brain becomes accustomed to the constant presence of these painkillers, and it can be uncomfortable or painful when people attempt to stop taking the drugs they’ve been using for years or even decades.

Thankfully, evidence-based opiate addiction treatment programs can help. Here, people have access to medications that can smooth the transition from addiction to sobriety, and they have contact with therapists and other experts who can help them to learn how to live without opiates. This is the kind of help we provide at Black Bear Lodge, and we’d like to tell you more about it.

We’re located in the peaceful foothills of Georgia, and we provide a safe and serene place for healing. Our opiate addiction treatment program offers thorough, holistic care, which includes medically-supervised detox, cognitive behavioral therapy, commitment therapy, art therapy and other elements of care. Please call us and we’ll tell you more.


1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Opioids. 2017. Web. Accessed 15 Dec 2017

2 Skarnulis, L. OxyContin: Pain Relief vs. Abuse. Web MD.Web. Accessed 15 Dec 2017

3 Landau, I. OxyContin Abusers Switching to Heroin in Wake of Formula Change. Everyday Health. 20 July 2012. Web. Accessed 15 Dec 2017

4 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Heroin. 2014. Web. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.

Kounang, N. What you need to know about fentanyl. CNN. 25 Oct 2017. Web. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.